Currently when turning 18 many young people who have been in residential care are forced to move a great distance from their peer and social networks, many of their professional relationships are completely severed and they have no clear plan for where they will be living in 6 months time from the age of 15.5 onwards.
Our innovation will involve the young person in drawing up a pathway plan as soon as possible after they are 15 years and 9 months old. The plan will include details on key professional relationships that will be maintained over the period when the young person is 16-20. A peer mentoring scheme will be established for young people to initially be supported through, and later for them to become peer supporters themselves. Our aim is not to simply provide support beyond 18, rather to completely restructure the support for young people aged 16-20.
Our project will remove the uncertainty of the first few years after leaving care by identifying the next two properties that the young people can expect to live in – a semi-independent living home and a post-18 staying close home. The post-18 accommodation provided will be either owned by our organisation or rented by us from a private landlord or partner housing provider. By removing the uncertainty around accommodation, this will enable young people to focus on their education or on attaining the necessary skills to enter employment.
Staff from residential homes will continue to provide support in the semi-independent home and in the post-18 accommodation, thus removing the loss of relationships. The levels of support received will reduce incrementally over a 18-24 month period, replacing the sense of a cliff edge with small less daunting steps. Our aim is for only one aspect of the young person’s life to alter at a time; when they change their place of residence, other aspects of support will remain.
DfE Pilot Project Manager
Oxford and York Universities
Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council